UPDATED 14:59 EST / AUGUST 24 2021

CLOUD

AWS expands cloud backup capabilities with AWS Backup Audit Manager

Amazon Web Services Inc. today launched AWS Backup Audit Manager, a cloud tool that companies can use to check if their data protection processes are working as intended and complying with regulations.

Enterprises regularly create backup copies of their data to prepare for the risk that some information may become unavailable because of a technical issue or a cyberattack. To help with the task, AWS provides a service called AWS Backup. The service allows companies to create copies of their data automatically at regular time intervals and quickly recover them in the event the original information is lost.

The newly launched Backup Audit Manager is available as part of AWS Backup. It allows administrators to define a set of technical requirements covering details such as how often backup copies of data should be created. Then, administrators can use the tool to find parts of their companies’ AWS deployments that don’t meet the requirements.

“With AWS Backup Audit Manager, you can now continuously and automatically track your backup activity, such as changes to a backup plan or backup vault, and generate automatic daily reports,” AWS developer advocate Steve Roberts wrote in a blog post today. 

An information technology team could, for example, define a rule in Backup Audit Manager that specifies backup copies of an application should be created at least once an hour. Creating backups frequently is important because it limits the amount of data that can be lost in an outage. If a company creates a backup copy of an application every hour, then it will at most lose one hour’s worth of data. 

For the same reason, detecting instances where backups are not being created often enough is essential to preventing data loss. According to AWS, Backup Audit Manager provides visual dashboards that administrators can use to easily identify workloads not in compliance with backup requirements.

Setting backup frequency and retention period controls

Backup Audit Manager can also track a range of other details besides backup frequency. The tool detects cloud workloads that should be backed up regularly, but aren’t in practice because of a configuration issue. Additionally, administrators can use the tool to help them ensure that backups are retained for the specific amount of time specified in their company’s data retention policies.

Backup Audit Manager provides a number of cybersecurity-focused controls as well. IT teams can specify that all backups should kept in an encrypted form and, if needed, disable the option to manually delete them. The tool’s cybersecurity controls can potentially reduce the risk posed by ransomware attacks, which in some cases encrypt the main copies of a company’s data and delete the associated backups to make recovering the information more difficult.

In addition to helping companies ensure their data protection procedures meet internal requirements, AWS says, Backup Audit Manager can ease regulatory compliance. Firms in industries such as financial services are subject to data regulations that require their backup procedures to meet certain specific technical standards. Backup Audit Manager enables IT teams to check that their backup procedures indeed meet those standards and create reports on compliance status.

“Automated reports on backup activity can be used to demonstrate compliance to auditors and regulators,” Roberts wrote.

AWS is rolling out Backup Audit Manager at a time when startup funding activity indicates that demand for cloud  backup tools is growing rapidly. Earlier this month, OwnBackup Inc. raised $240 million at a $3.4 billion valuation to extend its data protection platform for Salesforce to other platforms. In April, cloud data protection specialist Druva Inc. closed a $147 million round at a valuation exceeding $2 billion.

Besides expanding AWS’ presence in a growing market, Backup Audit Manager will also enable the cloud giant to improve the user experience for customers. Until now, companies had to use external tools to check if their backup processes comply with internal and regulatory compliance requirements. Removing the need for external software tools allows AWS to simplify the day-to-day IT operations of customers, as well as potentially reduce their software expenses.

Backup Audit Manager is rolling out just days after AWS rival Microsoft Corp. bought a stake in data protection specialist Rubrik Inc. at a reported $4 billion valuation. The investment is part of a new collaboration that will see Microsoft collaborate with Rubrik to simplify data protection for companies using its Azure public cloud and Microsoft 365 product bundle.

Image: AWS

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